The New York Knicks reportedly want Jalen Brunson “bad.” The Clippers see him as a perfect floor general paired with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. There are plenty of other teams with their eyes on Brunson as a possible fit at the trade deadline or thinking they can poach him as a free agent this summer.
The Mavericks have no plans to trade him at the deadline, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon became the latest to say, while on The Lowe Post podcast (hat tip Hoopshype).
“I have been assured that they will not move (Jalen) Brunson before the trade deadline unless it is, and I quote, a “What the bleep are they thinking type of offer?”
Brunson will become a free agent this summer and has played so well this season — 15.7 points and 5.8 assists a game, proving to be a strong secondary ball-handler and scorer next to Luka Doncic — that teams will be lining up to pay him. The Mavericks put a four-year, $56 million extension in front of him (the max they can offer right now), but Brunson wants and thinks he will get starter money, more like four years, $80 million.
Will the Mavericks pay that to re-sign him this summer? MacMahon says Brunson wants to stay in Dallas but he wants to get paid more, something ESPN’s Zach Lowe emphasizes.
The thing on Brunson is I wouldn’t mess around too much if I were the Mavs. That’s all I’ll say. I wouldn’t be too cute with the negotiating. I wouldn’t be too cute based on what I’ve heard.
It will be interesting to watch Brunson in free agency if Dallas does not put an offer he respects on the table. There are teams with cap space next summer, but not many and the ones with it are more rebuilding franchises than the teams that want to win now and could use Brunson. For example, Detroit’s not paying for Brunson when they already have Cade Cunningham. Brunson’s agent could try to set up a sign-and-trade, but that requires Dallas to play along.
Brunson is going to be an intriguing free agent to watch this summer. Not so interesting at the trade deadline, however.